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- Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 - 40/169 -
How lilies droop and roses fade; But Constancy's unalter'd truth, Regardful of the vows of youth, Affection that recalls the past, And bids the pleasing influence last, Shall still preserve the lover's flame In every scene of life the same; And still with fond endearments blend The wife, the mistress, and the friend!"-E.
(191) "Lady Miller's collection of verses by fashionable people, which were put into her vase at Batheaston, in competition for honourary prizes being mentioned, Dr. Johnson held them very cheap: 'Bouts-rim`es,' said be, 'is a mere conceit, and an old conceit; I wonder how people were persuaded to write in that manner for this lady.' I named a gentleman of his acquaintance who wrote for the vase. Johnson--'He was a blockhead for his pains!' Boswell. 'The Duchess of Northumberland wrote.' Johnson: 'Sir, the Duchess of Northumberland may do what she pleases; nobody will say any thing to a lady of her high rank: but I should be apt to throw * * * *'s verses in his face.'" Boswell. vol. v. p. 227.-E.
(192) Madame du Deffand, writing of General Conway to Walpole, had said--"Savez-vous combien il connait d`ej`a de personnes dans Paris? Quatre.vingt dix. Il n'est nullement sauvage."-E.
(193) The Duc du Choiseul.
(194) The Life of Ninon de l'Enclos.
(195) The account of the revolution in Russia which placed Catherine II. on the throne, by M. de la Rulhi`ere, afterwards Published. Mr. Conway had heard it read in manuscript in a private society.
(196) Sir Charles Hanbury Williams.
(197) This alludes to circumstances Mr. Conway mentions as having taken place at a ball at Versailles.
Letter 87 To The Hon. H. S. Conway.(198) January 22, 1775. (page 128)
After the magnificent overture for peace from Lord Chatham, that I announced to Madame du Deffand, you will be most impatient for my letter. Ohin`e! you will be sadly disappointed. Instead of drawing a circle with his wand round the House of Lords, and ordering them to pacify America, on the terms he prescribed before they ventured to quit the circumference of his commands, he brought a ridiculous, uncommunicated, unconsulted motion for addressing the King immediately to withdraw the troops from Boston, as an earnest of lenient measures. The Opposition stared and shrugged; the courtiers stared and laughed. His own two or three adherents left him, except Lord Camden and Lord Shelburne, and except Lord Temple, who is not his adherent and was not there. Himself was not much animated, but very hostile; particularly on Lord Mansfield, who had taken care not to be there. He talked of three millions of Whigs in America, and told the ministers they were checkmated and had not a move left to make. Lord Camden was as strong. Lord Suffolk was thought to do better than ever, and Lord Lyttelton's declamation was commended as usual. At last, Lord Rockingham, very punily, and the Duke of Richmond joined and supported the motion; but at eight at night it was rejected by 68 to 18, though the Duke of Cumberland voted for it.(199)
This interlude would be only entertaining, if the scene was not so totally gloomy. The cabinet have determined on civil war, and regiments are going from Ireland and our West Indian islands. On Thursday the plan of the war is to be laid before both Houses. To-morrow the merchants carry their petition; which, I suppose, will be coolly received, since, if I hear true, the system is to cut off all traffic with America at present--as, you know, we can revive it when we please. There! there is food for meditation! Your reflections, as you understand the subject better than I do, will go further than mine could. Will the French you converse with be civil and keep their countenances?
George Damer(200) t'other day proclaimed your departure for the 25th; but the Duchess of Richmond received a whole cargo of letters from ye all on Friday night, which talk of a fortnight or three weeks longer. Pray remember it is not decent to be dancing at Paris, when there is a civil war in your own country. You would be like the Country squire, who passed by with his hounds as the battle of Edgehill began.
I am very sorry to tell you the Duke of Gloucester is dying. About three weeks ago the physicians said it was absolutely necessary for him to go abroad immediately. He dallied, but was actually preparing. He now cannot go, and probably will not live many days, as he has had two shivering fits, and the physicians give the Duchess no hopes.(201) Her affliction and courage are not to be described; they take their turns as she is in the room with him or not. His are still greater. His heart is broken, and yet his firmness and coolness amazing. I pity her beyond measure; and it is not a time to blame her having accepted an honour which so few women could have resisted, and scarce one ever has resisted.
The London and Bristol merchants carried their petitions yesterday to the House of Commons. The Opposition contended for their being heard by the committee of the whole House, who are to consider the American papers; but the Court sent them to a committee(202) after a debate till nine at night, with nothing very remarkable, on divisions of 197 to 81, and 192 to 65. Lord Stanley(203) spoke for the first time; his voice and manner pleased, but his matter was not so successful. Dowdeswell(204 is dead, and Tom Hervey.(205) The latter sent for his Wife and acknowledged her. Don't forget to inform me when my letters must stop. Adieu! Yours ever.
(198) Now first printed.
(199) In the Chatham correspondence will be found another, and a very different, account of this debate, in a letter to Lady Chatham, from their son William:--"Nothing," he says, "prevented my father's speech from being the most forcible that can be imagined, and the administration fully felt it. The matter and manner were striking; far beyond what I can express. It was every thing that was superior; and though it had not the desired effect on an obdurate House of Lords, it must have an infinite effect without doors, the bar being crowded with Americans, etc. Lord Suffolk, I cannot say answered him, but spoke after him. He was a contemptible orator indeed, with paltry matter and a whining delivery. Lord Shelburne spoke well, and supported the motion warmly. Lord Camden was supreme, with only One exception, and as zealous as possible. Lord Rockingham spoke shortly, but sensibly; and the Duke of Richmond well, and with much candour as to the Declaratory act. Upon the whole, it was a noble debate. The ministry were violent beyond expectation, almost to madness. instead of recalling the troops now there, they talked of sending more. My father has had no pain, but is lame in one ankle near the instep from standing so long. No wonder he is lame: his first speech lasted above an hour, and the second half an hour; surely, the two finest speeches that ever were made before, unless by himself!" Dr. Franklin too, who heard the debate, says, in reference to Lord Chatham's speech-"I am filled with admiration of that truly great man. I have seen, in the course of my life, sometimes eloquence without wisdom and often wisdom without eloquence: in the present instance, I see both united, and both, as I think, in the highest degree possible." Vol. iv. pp. 375, 385.-E.
(200) Afterwards second Earl of Dorchester-E.
(201) His Royal Highness survived this illness more than thirty years.-E.
(202) This committee was wittily called by Mr. Burke, and afterwards generally known as "the committee of oblivion."-E.
(203) Afterwards Earl of Derby-E.
(204) The Right Hon. William Dowdeswell, of Pull Court, member for the county of Worcester. He died at Nice, whither he had gone for the recovery of his health.-E.
(205) The Hon. Thomas Hervey, second son of John first Earl of Bristol.-E.
Letter 88 To The Rev. Mr. Cole. Arlington Street, April 11, 1775. (page 129)
I thank you, dear Sir, for your kind letter., and the good account YOU give of yourself-nor can I blame your change from writing that is, transcribing, to reading--sure you ought to divert yourself rather than others-though I should not say s, if your pen had not confined itself to transcripts.
I am perfectly well, and heed not the weather; though I wish the seasons came a little oftener into their own places instead of each Other's. From November, till a fortnight ago, we had much warmth that I should often be glad of in summer--and since we are not sure of it then, was rejoiced when I could get it. For myself, I am a kind of delicate Hercules; and though made of paper, have, by temperance, by using as much cold water inwardly and outwardly as I can, and by taking no precautions against catching cold, and braving all weathers, become capable of suffering by none. My biennial visitant, the gout, has yielded to the bootikins, and stayed with me this last time but five weeks in lieu of five months. Stronger men perhaps would kill themselves by my practice, but it has done so long with me, I shall trust to it.
I intended writing to you on Gray's Life,(206) if you had not prevented me. I am charmed with it, and prefer it to all the biography I ever saw. The style is excellent, simple, unaffected; the method admirable, artful, and judicious. He has framed the fragments, as a person said, so well, that they are fine drawings, if not finished pictures. For my part, I am
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